CD Review: The Reducers - Guitars, Bass & Drums

CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz

New London's band The Reducers released their first album in 10 years.  Guitars, Bass and Drums is proof that The Reducers are just as relevant and necessary to the music scene today as they were when they brought punk rock to New London in the late 70's.  They may not do punk songs like "Scared of Cops" anymore but as veteran rock n’ rollers they are showing everyone that, if done right, the up-beat 4 chord pop song is one of the most important things in music.

This record is super cleanly produced without any fancy studio trickery and you can hear all the instruments and vocals clear as a bell.  That's incredibly important when you consider the tones that these guys get.  Steve’s bass sound is the best punk rock bass sound I've ever heard.  It’s crisp and has the real trebly snap that makes it cut through the mix  without ever sacrificing the low end to round it out.   The lines he plays are acrobatic in a way that push the song along and accent the chord changes but never take the attention away from the vocals or a guitar solo.  The rhythm guitar has a great mix of distortion and articulation.  It's never muddy or overpowering it just sounds like rock n' roll.  The solo’s have great blues feel to them both in tone and riff construction.  The sound has enough bite to make it stick out so you have something you can sink your teeth into. Even when there isn't a solo going on, the play between Peter and Hugh’s guitar work is a lot like their vocals in the way that they are similar yet distinct.  You can always tell which is which but they are extremely complimentary to one another. Now what about the hammer that drives the nail? That would be Tom on drums with the snare cracks like no other.  Never flashy, always on time and drums that are tuned to perfection... there really isn’t much more you can say about it.

Now being a band for thirty years has obviously given them the time to get this immaculate sound that they have but let’s examine what it’s done for the song writing shall we?  The style of songs on this record appeal to pretty much anyone with ears.  They are a little longer than most pop tunes but they move quickly from chorus to verse to chorus so instead of getting bored with it you almost have to keep up.  If that description makes it sound repetitive let me assure you that there are bridges, guitar solos and musical buildups… like Hugh’s guitar change ups that drive "Paranoid Blues". There are elements that are reminiscent of The Replacements like the band’s complete tonal change during the solo in "I Don’t Mind". There are other things that have smatterings of great "Brit Pop" like The Kinks; the strong presence of backing vocals especially when they're "oohs" and "ahs" and a very snare driven style of drumming.

At this point I've given you plenty of reason to get this record and go see every Reducers show you can possibly make it to.  I haven't even touched upon the crown jewel of this record... the pop masterpiece "My Problem", featuring Mark Mulcahy on vocals. It’s nothing less than world class.  Paul Brockett once described this song as "the song that everyone wants to write, within their genre". Which is better than any description I could think of.  It just hits on all cylinders and it’s really the perfect pop/rock song... especially if you're a musician you want to write a song that has this sort of power.  These are 4 guys who have really learned from the best and are writing their own book on how to create really great music... that lasts.

Get your copy of Guitars, Bass and Drums at The Mystic Disc, The Dutch Tavern or:

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